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Povl Lasbo
09/14/05 02:21 PM  
Supply of Belgian Beer Bottles and Stoppers
You may have read this already on the other message board - I posted it before I realized that there was one specifically for homebrewers, so here we go again for the right forum:

I am a recent convert to Belgian beers after a trip home (to Denmark!). But back in the USSA, I mainly brew my own, although I occassionally buy an imported one for comparison and ongoing "studies".

I have been resonably successful and it sure is nice to be able to make a five-gallon batch for less than the price of two bottles of Chimay, although I of course would not dare compare my ale with theirs.

So far I have been keg-conditioning only but would really like to bottle some for gifts, competitions, parties, etc. I have so far been unable to find a supplier of the 75 cl. bottles and the champagne type stoppers used by Ommegang, Chimay and others - champagne bottles and stoppers are only a last resort.

Does anyone know of a supplier? Emptying a few cases of Ommegangs would only be a partial solution (though wonderful if expensive) as it would not provide new stoppers.

Best regards

Povl Lasbo

Lopez Island, WA

SteveG
09/14/05 02:39 PM  
Re: Supply of Belgian Beer Bottles and Stoppers
Povl, when you say "stoppers" do you mean that mushroom-shaped champagne cork or the crown?
Jeff
09/14/05 05:44 PM  
Re: Supply of Belgian Beer Bottles and Stoppers
Considering he references Ommegang, those are the bottles that have to be corked/caged, as there is no lip you can cap.
SteveG
09/14/05 06:05 PM  
Re: Supply of Belgian Beer Bottles and Stoppers
No lip? Sure they do (just checked) although it is not one that any cap I've seen would work on. But my question was not cork vs. cap, it was cork vs. cage (I said "crown", that was the wrong word, sorry). Its hard to believe champagne corks could be all that hard to come across, but I'm not sure I've ever seen cages. Sometimes I have seen 750s with a champagne cork held down by a strip of metal kept in place by clamping it under the lip. In the case of Ommegang bottles the lip is not round at the top and flatter at the bottom, it is round all the way. But the metal is not all that pliable so I think it would hold anyway.
SteveG
09/14/05 06:19 PM  
Re: Supply of Belgian Beer Bottles and Stoppers
Hey Povl, hope you're monitoring the thread, I may have something for you. Don't know if you've ever been to Ommegang and met those folks but they're a great and friendly bunch and very "pro homebrewer". I got a press release from them this morning, they are having an event this weekend. If they are serving out of bottles, which certainly seems likely, then they will have a bunch of empties. If you reply here and tell me how many you are looking to get I'll contact them for you and ask they set some aside. I take it you are looking for a case or two, I'd be shocked if I couldn't collect that many. I know a few people who get up there from time to time, I should be able to get them down here without traveling to NY state. We'll work something out to cover the shipping and I'll mail them out your way. Still don't know about the cages, but at least you'd have the glass covered. Steve
SebastianP
09/14/05 06:28 PM  
Re: Supply of Belgian Beer Bottles and Stoppers
you can use a variety of corks to seal your bottles with, they all will get that mushroom shape over time.

For corks you want the agglomerated type, such as the Altec brand or even the cheap agglomerated type seam to work well. Or you can get full on thick Champagne corks, but these can be hard to pull out of the bottles when it comes serving time.

You will also most likely need a special champagne style corker and there is only one on the homebrew market currently, and it is about $100 (I own one and it works great, plus works for regular corking too).

As to bottles, I have never seen them on the homebrew market, I never buy bottles though b/c I drink way too much commercial beer.

Check out the link below for a list of the corks and corker (these guys are not necessarily the cheapest, it just happens to be one page with all of the things I mentioned)

http://www.weekendbrewer.com/corksequipment.htm

Champagne Corker #17391

Altec corks #6096

Real Champagne corks #60102

Agglomerated Corks #60084

SebastianP
09/14/05 06:30 PM  
Re: Cages
also at the above link you can find the cages with gold crown discs in them.

http://www.weekendbrewer.com/corksequipment.htm

Champagne wires with w/ metal cap #60111

Nick S.
09/15/05 03:10 AM  
Re: Supply of Belgian Beer Bottles and Stoppers
I've heard (but haven't tried) that you can go to restaurants or bars that do bubbly wine. They throw out the bottles anyway so you might be able to get some.
Andy S
09/15/05 05:26 PM  
Re: Supply of Belgian Beer Bottles and Stoppers
SebastianP: I have a champagne-style corker like the one you mentioned (Ferrari Model # 17391) exce3pt I got mine from northernbrewer.com.

I've been having problems with mine. I ordered Champagne corks from northernbrewer as well -- they are really fat, long ones. The machine has no problem compressing them, but I cannot get them to seat as far as I want in the bottles -- even with all the adjustments of the machine extended. They will seat about an inch into the bottles, with about an inch sticking out, then the corks will crack or break.

My question is this: besides soaking the corks in sanitizer for 10-15 minutes, have you run into any problems with yours? And from the site you mentioned, exactly which type of corks do you use with yours?

Thanks!

Andy S.
09/15/05 05:28 PM  
Re: Supply of Belgian Beer Bottles and Stoppers
OK... I see which corks you use, now. Which ones give you the best results?
SebastianP
09/15/05 05:49 PM  
Re: Andy S. & which corks to use
Andy S. wrote<<OK... I see which corks you use, now. Which ones give you the best results? >>

Best results? Well I will say that the Champagne style corks, while I have had no problems inserting them (though I ordered some over stock ones form Jelenik (sp?) years ago, not from the local HB stock, but they seem the same), I have had a hell of a time getting them removed from my bottles. Often times I have to resort to a cork screw or vice-grips.

The ones I feel most comfortable with are the Altec #9x1.75" corks, these insert and remove readilly and I have yet to have carbonation issues with them (3 months and counting). My most recent batches I have used the much less expensive agglomerated type corks, and these seem to work quite well too (only been in the bottle for a month and a half though).

Given that the Altec corks are still prone to cork taint, I think I will be using the cheap agglomerated corks from here on out. Even in Champagne style bottles I have not gotten the champagne corks to work well, they just are too hard to pull out, and I don't have the means to only insert them shallowly and still be able to get the wire cages on. I think that the wire cages with the gold metal crown on them are not long enough for actual champagne corks.

Andy S.
11/14/05 01:37 PM  
Re: Supply of Belgian Beer Bottles and Stoppers
FInally got around to corking some beers, but I ran out of wires and caps!

I see the link for the wires with caps and corks above, but I can't tell if these wires and caps would be suitable for use with my #9 altecs that work so well with my corker.

I know that the caps for use with the really thick champagne corks are much larger than the diameter of the #9 Altecs.

Has anyone used the wires and caps available on this page for the #9 Altecs?

I know I could call the seller, but thought I'd try here first.

THANKS!

SebastianP
11/14/05 05:42 PM  
Re: Supply of Belgian Beer Bottles and Stoppers
Andy S. wrote

<<Has anyone used the wires and caps available on this page for the #9 Altecs?>>

Those are the ones that I use. I have used them for Champagne corks, #9 Altecs and #9 aglomerated corks. They are perhaps a bit too big for the #9 corks, but they still are perfectly functional.

Moe H.
11/17/05 11:14 PM  
Re: Supply of Belgian Beer Bottles and Stoppers
Corks for belgian beer bottles I have found but I'm still in search of the Bottle (Brown Glass Ommegang, Allagash, etc.)Unused.

Oh yea as far as the Corks go here is the link

http://www.stpats.com/ Scroll Down to

New and Featured ProductsóBeer

and click on the link that says Belgian Style Beer Corks

Here's the Specs.

Belgian Beer (23.5 mm)

Other diameters available upon request. 44 mm Micro-Agglomerated --- $230 for a 1000 corks

I haven't had the time to call them but something tells me if they can get the cork they can get or know where to get the Bottles. Hope this helps. Mike Hall

SteveG
11/18/05 07:52 AM  
Re: Supply of Belgian Beer Bottles and Stoppers
<<Corks for belgian beer bottles I have found but I'm still in search of the Bottle (Brown Glass Ommegang, Allagash, etc.)Unused.>>

On my first tour at Ommegang Don (at that time the owner) told me to get that bottle domestically he had to order some rediculous amount so he brought them in from Europe. Don't know if that is still the case or where Allagash gets them. Maybe they have some deal to up the order quantity and save money. If so that would explain why you tend to not see them here.

 
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